A Sidewinder on the Desk
by Tina Blue
December 20, 2000
My herpetologist friend Randy really, really loved snakes. He was greedy for snakes the way people who collect those Franklin Mint dolls and plates are greedy for their obsessions. He always wanted more snakes, and more kinds of snakes.
At one point, he had fifty-seven snakes--some venomous, some not--in his apartment. One, a five-foot-long pregnant female western diamondback rattler, seemed actually to be jealous of me! Okay, I know that's silly anthropomorphism, but I never could wear my hearing aids over there, because the minute I walked in the door, she would start rattling so loudly that even without the hearing aids, I could hardly tolerate the din. And she'd keep it up the whole time I was there. Randy told me that she never did that when anyone else visited. Just me.
One sidewinder Randy had was quite the escape artist. Every time Randy's roommate Troy would sit down at his desk to study, there would be Randy's sidewinder, sunning herself under Troy's desk lamp. All I can say is that Troy had the patience of a saint. Fortunately, sidewinders are not very aggressive. She would barely even acknowledge Troy's presence as he called for Randy to come out and retrieve his pet.
Now, I like snakes, but I think I would get a bit annoyed if a roommate's sidewinder rattlesnake kept showing up on my desk. I'd be understanding the first time, but I would not want there to be a second!